By the time women reach the age of 50, between 20-80% of them may have uterine fibroids — non cancerous growths in the uterus. The reason for the large range in numbers is that we can only guess at how many women develop fibroids since most don’t cause any symptoms.
While we may consider the majority of uterine fibroids to be unproblematic, these growths can pose problems that won’t go away unless they are treated.
At Tahoe Women’s Care, Dr. Gary Willen offers full women’s health care, which includes conditions like uterine fibroids.
Here’s a look at what we want you to know about uterine fibroids and why you can’t always count on the problem going away on its own.
When fibroids make themselves known
Of the millions of women who have uterine fibroids, many are unaware that they even exist. Making the condition even easier, fibroids tend to respond to the drop in reproductive hormone levels after menopause — and they shrink.
While this is the desirable course for uterine fibroids, the growths can be unpredictable and cause problems.
If you develop numerous fibroids, fibroids in certain sensitive areas, or a large fibroid (some can grow as large as a grapefruit), you may experience symptoms that include:
- Heavy bleeding
- Abnormal bleeding (spotting between periods)
- Pelvic pain or pressure
- Lower back pain
- Problems with fertility
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination or issues with incontinence
The best way to confirm whether fibroids are responsible for your symptoms is through advanced imaging, namely ultrasound.
If we confirm that you have problematic uterine fibroids, there are several treatment options, including hormonal medications, myomectomy, endometrial ablation, and watchful waiting.
We can use hormone medications to try and shrink your fibroids. This also means you can’t get pregnant while you’re on this therapy.
Uterine fibroids are medically known as myomas and their removal is called a myomectomy. During a myomectomy procedure the doctor removes the fibroid using minimally invasive surgical techniques. This approach is good for large fibroids and for women who still want to have children. This procedure is done in the operating room and requires anesthesia, however you will go home the same day.
If you’re experiencing heavy periods due to uterine fibroids, we offer NovaSure®, a procedure in which we use radiofrequency ablation to destroy the lining of your uterus. The NovaSure approach is quick and easy. But while it effectively puts an end to heavy bleeding, it also puts an end to your ability to have children. This procedure is also done in the hospital with anesthesia.
Waiting them out
If you develop symptoms due to uterine fibroids and you’re close to menopause, you may want to wait it out to see if they shrink. This result is far from guaranteed, but we can always step in afterward if you’re still struggling with your fibroids.
To figure out which option is best for your symptomatic uterine fibroids, we invite you to contact our office in Carson City, Nevada, to set up a consultation. Call 775-267-6700